The Open Mat released its first set of individual rankings for the 2014-2015 season. The Minnesota Golden Gophers find five different wrestlers with all-American credentials ranked in the Top 5 at their weight. Last season the Golden Gophers finished 4.5 points behind Penn State as Runner-ups at nationals.
Nick Dardanes drops down a weight class from 149 to 141. He was seeded second last season entering the nationals. After falling in the opening round to an unseeded Matthew Frisch (CIT), Nick won two matches in wrestle backs before losing to Habat of Edinboro. Dardanes returns to start the season ranked fifth at the 141-pound weight class.
Chris Dardanes also is dropping a weight class as he descends from 141 to 133. The Dardanes twins, both seniors, dropped down one weight class to help the Golden Gophers make a run at a national title. Chris Dardanes lost last season in the nationals in the round of 16 to the eleventh seeded Lazor of Northern Iowa. Chris Dardanes also won two bouts in the wrestle backs before falling to the number one overall seed and eventual third place medalist. Chris Dardanes is ranked fourth in the 133-pound weight class.
Scott Schiller finished third last season after losing a heartbreaker in the first tie-breaker of the semi-finals by a score of 2-1. Schiller returns this season as a senior and ranked second at the 197-pound weight class, only behind sophomore and last season’s champion J’Den Cox of Missouri.
Dylan Ness, 157, and Logan Storley, 174, are both senior wrestlers that find themselves at the top of their respected weight classes. They will both return to their previous season’s weight class as the number one ranked wrestler. Ness was the 2014 NCAA national Runner-up after falling by a major to champion Alex Dieringer 13-4. He reached the finals after winning four bouts and upsetting three high seeded wrestlers.
Storley reached the semi-finals after upsetting the third seed, Kokesh of Nebraska. Storley would lose in the semi-finals to second seed Andrew Howe of Oklahoma University. Storley found himself facing Kokesh for the second time as they wrestled for third place. Kokesh dragged Storley to a tie-breaker for the second time. Storley would defeat the Corn Husker in the first tie-breaker by a score of 3-1.
The Minnesota Golden Gophers have five Top 5 ranked seniors returning to their lineup this season. Since Penn State has graduated two of their best wrestlers in program history, David Taylor and Ed Ruth, Minnesota has a solid chance of winning the Big Ten Conference Dual-Meet championship outright. Expect J Robinson and the Golden Gopher nation to have expectations of sweeping the Big Ten and taking home a national championship.
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Below is The Open Mat’s Top 5 in all ten weight classes.
|4||Joey Dance||Virginia Tech||So.||29-10|
|1||Logan Stieber||Ohio State||Sr.||30-1|
|3||Zain Retherford||Penn State||So.||33-3|
|2||Josh Kindig||Oklahoma State||Sr.||24-9|
|3||Devin Carter||Virginia Tech||Sr.||18-1|
|4||Hunter Stieber||Ohio State||Jr.||18-0*|
|3||Ian Miller||Kent State||Jr.||31-6|
|1||Alex Dieringer||Oklahoma State||Jr.||32-1|
|3||Mike Moreno||Iowa State||Sr.||31-9|
|3||Matt Brown||Penn State||Sr.||33-6|
|2||Jack Dechow||Old Dominion||So.||21-6|
|3||Kyven Gadson||Iowa State||Sr.||30-4|
|5||Morgan McIntosh||Penn State||Jr.||32-5|
|1||Nick Gwiazdowski||N.C. State||Jr.||43-2|
|4||Austin Marsden||Oklahoma State||Jr.||23-9|